Do I Need To Tip My Pearl Harbor Guide?

May 11, 2019

The topic of tipping can be a minefield, especially when you’re on vacation. It can be difficult to know when you're expected to tip, not to mention how much. We’re not talking about when you go out to eat, but rather you go on tours. What about tipping at Pearl Harbor? Read on!

First things first. In the United States, tipping is much more common—and expected—than in many other parts of the world. There are several reasons for this. In some countries, a Service Charge is already added to one's bill, which is either given directly to the server or goes to paying higher wages. Either way, tipping in these places isn't expected because the server is better-compensated by the employer. In some cultures, giving a cash tip can actually be considered offensive. In the United States, by contrast, most people know that restaurant servers, for example, rely on tips to get by since their wages are extremely low. But when it comes to other types of services, many people are baffled. What about tour guides, for example?

When it comes to your trip to Oahu, you're probably considering booking a Pearl Harbor tour. Some visitors opt to simply purchase the Passport to Pearl Harbor, which provides admissions to the various sites. Many people, however, prefer a tour led by an expert guide who shares stories about the history of December 7, 1941, providing insights others don't get during a self-guided visit.

So, when it comes to your tour of Pearl Harbor, should you consider tipping your guide? Our answer is a definite "yes."

Tipping at Pearl Harbor

Flight over Pearl Harbor Couple

Pearl Harbor tour guides are happy to take pictures for you

As is always the case, it is 100% your prerogative whether or not you want to give your tour guide—or anyone, for that matter—a tip for their service. That being said, there are guidelines you may want to follow, because when your tour is finished, you may feel that your guide deserves that extra monetary “thank you” for the services they provided during your tour.

First off, it’s important to remember that with the Passport to Pearl Harbor, you’re going through the Pearl Harbor sites on your own. There's no one there to provide you with nuggets of information about the attack on Pearl Harbor, World War II, or the history of Hawaii. Pearl Harbor tour guides often go above and beyond to make sure you learn something that isn’t necessarily explained in the memorials and exhibits.

There’s also the matter of asking your guide for little extras, such as taking pictures for you so everyone in your group is included. Pearl Harbor guides work hard to provide you with the best tour experience possible.

Still Not Convinced?

Your guide can give you tips on making the most of your time at Pearl Harbor

Your guide can give you tips on making the most of your time at Pearl Harbor

Think about it like this: when going to a restaurant, most people plan on spending an additional 20% on top of the cost of the food and drinks. That's for an interaction lasting about an hour, and the server isn't even with his or her guests the whole time.

A Pearl Harbor tour guide is with you throughout the entire experience. They pick you up in the morning, they provide a thorough orientation at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, including tips on where to sit in the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater and on the US Navy shuttle boat that takes you on a tour of the harbor. Depending on the tour you choose, they may also take you to Ford Island and the Battleship Missouri, the USS Oklahoma Memorial, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.

The shortest Pearl Harbor tour is approximately 4.5 hours long and the longest lasts up to 11 hours. It’s a lot of work for a guide and they, just like restaurant servers, rely on the generosity of their guests.



So, How Much Should I Tip?

While there aren't any hard and fast rules, you can't go wrong if you start at 10% of the tour price. Or you can simplify things by giving $15-$20 per guest for a full-day tour. If the tour is shorter, consider $5 to $10 per person.


Find a Tour


Remember Pearl Harbor Tour from Waikiki

Guided Tour

6-7 hours (approx.)
From $129

The Complete Pearl Harbor Tour Experience With Lunch

Guided Tour

10.5 hours (approx.)
From $204

Pearl Harbor & Honolulu City Tour from Waikiki

Guided Tour

5.5 hours (approx.)
From $67

Official Passport to Pearl Harbor


6-8 hours (approx.)
From $89.99
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